Wednesday day baseball is back, folks! We’ve got a loaded slate of afternoon MLB action that is reminiscent of Thursday’s Opening Day offerings, with a whopping 10 games starting between 1 and 4 p.m. ET. Plenty of notable arms are toeing the rubber this afternoon like Shane Bieber ($10,600) and Trevor Bauer ($10,200), and then there’s Kevin Gausman ($7,600). With so much variety, this should be a fun slate to play.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your DraftKings lineups.
Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland Athletics, $10,200 - Surely you’re not concerned about Bauer giving up two pops at Coors Field in his first start as a Dodger, right? This A’s lineup has been downright awful to start the season, hitting just .169 and compiling the third-worst wRC+ in the league at 55. Oakland hasn’t exactly struck out a ton this season, but neither has Colorado, and Bauer racked up eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings in his first outing of the season. Bauer should have the same kind of upside here as he did five days ago, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh, and will see a massive park upgrade to boost his prospects.
Hyun Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers, $7,300 - I’m not buying this Rangers offense just because they’ve beaten up on some bad pitching in the early going. If you want to respect Tanner Roark of all people, you can go ahead and do that, and look past this stud sitting here just north of $7K. Ryu had a lot of success on Opening Day against a Yankees team that struggled last year against lefties, and should have similar success against a team with four lefties in the lineup, and whose two worst offensive showings so far this season have come in the two games they’ve faced lefties. The Rangers should take a step back on offense, and Ryu should be able to rack up three strikeouts alone against Joey Gallo ($4,100).
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, $5,000 - It’s hard for me not to ride the wave with Will Smith ($4,700), but he’s been significantly worse against lefties over his career. That leaves me with Realmuto, who has done a decent job against southpaws over his career with a .793 OPS. Realmuto will be locked into the cleanup spot against a middling pitcher in David Peterson ($7,000) who lacks the putaway stuff to cause problems.
Yermín Mercedes, Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners, $4,100 - Seattle’s starter Justin Dunn ($6,700) was dreadful last season when it came to limiting hard contact, and Mercedes sure has made a lot of it in the early going, maxing out at 112.2 mph on his 20 batted balls in 2021. He’s hit so well that the White Sox have been trying to find a spot for him every day, and I like him in this matchup.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland Athletics, $5,200 - It’s no secret that Muncy’s been swinging a hot bat at the moment, and finds himself smack-dab in the middle of the most formidable lineup in baseball at the moment. I expect Muncy to have a good game in the park he called home for the first two seasons of his career against lefty Jesus Luzardo ($6,300), who gave up three barrels in his first start of 2021. Muncy has been a big reverse splits guy over his career, doing as much if not more damage against lefties, and another big game should be in store here.
Ty France, Seattle Mariners vs. Chicago White Sox, $3,600 - OK, so this is becoming a thing. France ripped through spring training, exciting Mariners fans everywhere, and has continued over his torrid pace at the plate so far in 2021. Dallas Keuchel ($7,400) should be in line for some regression this season judging by his 2020 peripherals, and we saw him struggle in his first start of the season in Los Angeles against the Angels. I don’t see why France can’t keep it going at the plate here.
Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers, $5,200 - Semien is probably the high-priced option here by default, going up against one of the weaker pitchers on the slate in Kyle Gibson ($5,500). He’s already hit two home runs on the young season and appears to be mirroring his 2019 form much more than his 2020 form. A .330 xwOBA seems to suggest the start isn’t a fluke, either.
Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, $2,900 - It’s never fun going against Trevor Bauer, but if you’re looking to save money you could do a lot worse here. Despite the fact that he hasn’t really been super active in two calendar years, the Athletics seem committed to getting Lowrie regular at-bats after a strong spring. He’s rewarded them with a boatload of contact and a .263 average, and he appears to be seeing the ball incredibly well right now. The matchup isn’t the greatest, but I think the player certainly is playable here. I’m going to continue buying low on Lowrie until he makes me sorry.
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland Athletics, $5,300 - We’re going to go back and pick on Luzardo here for a second. Turner’s had three multi-hit performances in five games so far this season, and is cemented as the third hitter in the most attractive lineup tonight. This is one of those spots you’ll want to pay up, and the upside here is probably high considering Turner’s done all of this great work without making much hard contact (21%) at all this season. That said, a .277 expected batting average points to the fact that he hasn’t necessarily been lucky, either.
Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, $3,100 - We talked about the matchup the Phillies have here against Peterson, and Bohm should be in line to take advantage on Wednesday. He has too much talent for his rocky start to the season not to turn around, and the fact that he’s ranked in the 81st percentile in hard-hit rate this season after sitting in the 84th last year tells me all that I need to know about how he’s seeing the ball right now. Things will eventually turn, and against a lefty that should struggle, Bohm should pick up a couple of hits.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland Athletics, $5,500 - Shortstop is a wasteland on this slate with Fernando Tatis Jr. out and Tim Anderson probably missing too. So, if you want to pay up, you’ll want to spend your money on Seager, who is coming off a stellar 2020 against southpaws, where he went for a 121 wRC+. The Dodgers also have a pretty beefy implied team total here, and Seager will be hitting in a premium spot at third in the lineup, making him a pretty solid addition to your lineup if you have the room.
Luis Urias, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, $2,800 - It’s pretty hard finding value at shortstop, but here goes. The former lauded prospect won’t hit in a good spot in this order, and hasn’t reached the Mendoza Line quite yet this year, but I’m rather bullish on the Brewers this season and won’t ever pass up the chance to fade Kyle Hendricks ($8,100). He’s got a hit in two of his last three games, which is encouraging, and should have the benefit of playing in a high-scoring affair.
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers, $5,100 - The Boomstick has gone for 61 DKFP in his past two games (yes, you read that right) with a total of six hits and three homers. Now, he gets to face an underwhelming left-hander in Matthew Boyd ($6,900). Not only has Cruz homered off Boyd before, the southpaw ranked in the bottom 12% of the league in barrel rate last year, and loves to give up hard-hit balls. I expect Cruz to stay hot against this soft-tosser.
Joc Pederson, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, $3,400 - Pederson has all the makings of a strong play on this slate. Not only does he see an 8% bump in wOBA facing a righty and a 19% difference in isolated power, he’s also owned Brandon Woodruff ($7,200) over his career to the tune of four hits in five at-bats, including two homers, good for an xwOBA of .817. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Pederson’s game, but it’s really hard to find a reason not to play him at this price, in this spot.
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